Roof repairmen need to have skills such as knowledge of roofing tools, equipment and machines; erecting scaffolds and hoists; knowing how to measure, cut and fit roofing materials; and properly laying asphalt and fiberglass shingles. Important qualities for roofers to have include a good sense of balance, the physical strength and stamina to lift heavy materials and work for long periods under often hot conditions, and a willingness to work high above the ground.
There are no specific educational requirements to become a roofer, and many learn the trade through on-the-job training. However, many people learn the trade by joining apprenticeship programs that unions or contractor associations may sponsor. These apprenticeship programs require candidates to be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma or equivalent, and be physically capable of doing the job.
Apprenticeship programs typically last three years, and during this time, apprentices must receive 144 hours of classroom instruction and 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training each year. Classroom learning typically covers topics such as roofing and construction basics, blueprint reading, building code requirements, math, and safety and first-aid procedures. Upon completion of the apprenticeship, roofers may work on their own as journeymen.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates roofer jobs to grow at 11 percent until 2022, which is faster than most occupations because more roofs need replacement and many workers leave the profession. The median salary as of 2012 was $16.97 per hour, which amounts to $35,290 per year.